This week's poll from the Lester & Charlie Institute of Forward Thinking:
Many viewers were thrown by how surprisingly nice they thought Mitt Romney's concession speech was last Tuesday. "Short but gracious," said the Today show. "Statesmanlike," wrote BuzzFeed. Some pundits went so far as to speculate that we were at long last seeing "the real Mitt" and, if only he had campaigned as that guy, election night could have gone much differently.
Of course, we're talking about Mitt Romney here. Romney made it his business to keep you guessing what, if anything, is going on behind that smirk of his. So it shouldn't be shocking that some people drew the exact opposite conclusion. "He's praying for you, America," wrote a staff writer at Salon. "That's not 'gracious.'" Political analyst Scott Farris told the Washington Post that his speech made it sound as if Romney didn't have "much respect, let alone affection" for the president.
Others wondered what in the world Romney was doing for almost two hours after most of the big networks conceded Ohio -- and the election -- to Obama. Was he scrambling to think of something to say? Surely Mitt was kidding when he said he hadn't bothered to prepare any remarks in the event he lost.
At this point, we suppose we'll never know who the "real Mitt" is.
The GOP will surely study this campaign carefully to try to figure out where it all went wrong. Was Romney too conservative? Not conservative enough? Maybe it'll be different in four years if the GOP can just get their candidates to stop praising rape. Or maybe they'll learn nothing at all and just blame Chris Christie.
So, while we'd like to say that Obama's reelection means we dodged a bullet on Tuesday, really, how are we to know? Romney based his whole campaign on giving no clear indication whatsoever how he would actually govern. Our best guess is that even Romney didn't know. Perhaps he was planning on winging it.
Still, like any good president-wannabe, Mitt managed to make a whole slew of promises, and his list for what he said he'd do on just his first day was impressive. Boost drilling. Sanction China. Sit down with Republicans and Democrats. "End these days of drift and disappointment." (Whew. Perhaps on Day Two he was planning to rest.)
We'll never get the chance to find out what Romney would've really done on his first day in office. (Insert collective sigh of relief.) But before he falls off the radar completely, let's have some fun speculating! Given that he loved to keep us guessing, what do YOU think a President Romney REALLY would have done on his first day in office?
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